Real Madrid returned to the top of La Liga with a 3-1 win against Osasuna at El Sadar. Zinedine Zidane had put out an experimental back three against the bottom dwellers, who looked spirited in the initial stages of the game.
However, goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco and Lucas Vazquez were enough to trump relegation favourites Osasuna. The hosts led by Sergio Leon’s wonder-goal did enough to trouble the Los Galacticos but they lacked the quality to hurt their mighty opponents.
The result leaves Osasuna at the bottom of the table with 10 points while Los Blancos regain their top spot from archrivals Barcelona with two games in hand. Here are the player ratings from this exciting clash in Pamplona.
Salvatore Sirigu - 5/10
The PSG loanee could have been a bit more crisp with his shot stopping. It was, however, his butterfingers which gave Madrid a crucial opening in the first half. It was a forgetful night for El Sadar newbie as he struggled a lot especially with his distribution and shot stopping.
Tano Bonnin – 6/10
A horrific injury brought an abject end to the Dominican defender’s night thanks to a benign clash with Isco. He was a livewire along with Jaime whilst on the pitch – troubling Marcelo at every available opportunity.
Oier – 5/10
The Osasuna vice-captain was brilliant in the first half but fizzled away in the second. He was unable to cope up with the movement of Benzema and Ronaldo who upped their game in the second half.
Nikola Vujadinovic – 6/10
It was his interceptions in the defensive third which made life difficult for Madrid’s forwards in the first half. He was, in fact, one of the players from the home team who held their own for the entire game.
Juan Fuentes – 6/10
The left back did exceptionally well to hold his own against Danilo. He also played an instrumental role in Osasuna’s equaliser. A below par second half, however, drew curtains on his on-field stay.
Jaime Romero – 6/10
The Spanish winger gave some nervy moments to the Madrid defence with his twinkling feet and was instrumental in setting up tantalising chances for the hosts. His performance, however, lacked a decent end product.
Goran Causic – 5/10
The 24-year-old acted as the midfield lynchpin for the hosts and was tasked to trigger counter-attacks at every possible instant. However, he miserably failed at it due to excessive pressure from the Madrid playmakers.
Fausto Tienza – 6/10
Fausto with his tenacious display derailed Los Blancos midfield to a considerable extent. He was exceptional in exploiting the space between Real’s midfield and attack which massively troubled the league leaders in the first half.
Alex Berenguer – 6/10
The hosts were absolutely lethal from the flanks throughout the game and Berenguer was one player who kept poking an ever improving Real side. He too, like Romero was wayward with his crosses.
Emmanuel Riviere – 6/10
The Newcastle loanee was very good with his pressing and positioning. He ably supported the midfield whilst not in possession, although he could have contributed a bit more in testing Madrid’s defence and Keylor Navas.
Sergio Leon – 8/10
He was by far the best player for the Los Rojillos. Darting runs, dazzling feet and some exciting finishing made Leon a real threat for Los Merengues. He showed his class by lobbing a world class keeper like Navas, which speaks a lot about his talent. If not for Isco, he surely would’ve been Man of the Match for his performance tonight.
David García – 5/10
He was a forced change which disrupted the balance of the Osasuna defence with his twitchy performance. He was instrumental in giving the visitors space and time to claw their way back into the game,
Carlos Clerc – 6/10
He too was a forced change which had a negligible impact on the game.
Raoul Loe – 5/10
He was brought on to save the day for the home team but was brutally exploited by Modric and co. which led to a drubbing in the latter stages of the game.
Keylor Navas – 6/10
He was exceptional with his positioning and shot stopping as he kept a flurry of attempts by the hosts at bay. He looked slightly uncomfortable with a back three, especially in the initial stages.
Sergio Ramos – 6/10
The Real Madrid veteran was a pale shadow of himself in the first half as he kept busy by the dazzling runs of Bonnin and Romero. He looked much better as they switched to a 3-4-3 post-Danilo’s untimely substitution.
Raphael Varane – 7/10
Strong, agile and composed are the three words which truly describe Varane’s night at El Sadar. He could’ve been, however, a bit tight to Leon during the Osasuna’s goal.
Nacho – 6/10
He was slightly uncomfortable as a wide centre-back and was repeatedly exposed by the Osasuna wide men. Like Ramos, he was more true to his character post the systemic change.
Danilo – 5/10
The Brazilian defender probably was the least effective player for the visitors as he was unable to cope with hosts’ wide men. An ankle injury brought an end to his night at El Sadar but it was yet another disappointing performance from the under-fire defender.
Casemiro – 6/10
He was absolutely anonymous in the first half thanks to some excellent positioning and pressing by the host midfield. He should have been more cognizant about his zone as he was the chink in Madrid’s armour which was ably exploited in the first half.
Luka Modric – 7/10
It was a decent comeback by the midfield maestro to first team football. It was his guile and nuance which helped the visitors in wriggling the midfield control away from the hosts in the second half.
Isco – 9/10
He was simply exceptional for Zidane’s team. His positioning, graft and his creativity were all top-notch. He was unplayable at times in the midfield and deservedly scored Madrid’s second goal.
Marcelo – 6.5/10
It was a routine performance by the mercurial wingback as he smartly adapted to the team’s recent tactical demands. He was solid in both offence as well as defence. It would’ve been a riot in Pamplona had he been slightly more accurate with his crosses.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8/10
Madrid’s talisman was at his usual best as he tore down Osasuna’s resistance with his brilliant movement and scrumptious finishing. It was a performance which seemed a bit rusty in the initial stages but nonetheless, was enough to save the day.
Karim Benzema – 7/10
The Frenchman was great in his withdrawn role where he gave quite a few headaches to the home team’s defence. He, however, needs to be more clinical in front of goal as he wasted some absolute sitters which could’ve given his team a comfortable win.
James Rodriguez – 6/10
The Bernabeu outcast tried his best to impress his gaffer with his determination and intensity. It wasn’t a bad performance by any stretch of imagination but surely this kind of a performance won't help in regaining a first team berth in a highly competitive Madrid midfield,
Lucas Vazquez – 7/10
The Castilla prodigy is slowly gaining the trust of the Madrid hierarchy with his ever improving performances. It was his smart movement and clinical finishing which made it a comfortable stroll for the visitors.
Matteo Kovacic – N/A
Hardly played any minutes to have a substantial impact on the game.